AOSTE, France – Freshmen Victoria Vivians and LaKaris Salter each posted double-doubles as Mississippi State closed its European exhibition tour with a 124-30 win against Aoste Select Monday night in front of a standing-room only crowd in the town.
Vic Schaefer’s squad wrapped a perfect run through the tour, and capped the slate in front of the largest crowd of the tour. A festive atmosphere packed the gymnasium, and the Bulldogs showed their appreciation by greeting the fans and signing autographs.
“It’s great to go 4-0, especially in front of such a great crowd,” Schaefer said. “It was a great opportunity for our kids to show a different part of the world who Mississippi State is, how we play the game and to entertain them. They treated our kids like celebrities and movie stars after the game, and to see our kids embrace that opportunity makes it a great night.”
Vivians tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds in the contest, while Salter hauled in 11 boards to go with 11 points. Sophomore Breanna Richardson tallied 20 points, while Jerica James added 15 and Morgan William 12.
“The more our freshmen play, the more comfortable they will become. The chemistry we have developed on and off the court during this trip is very important,” Schaefer said. “The crowd yelling MVP at LaKaris as she came off the floor was very special.”
Sherise Williams recorded double-figure rebounds, hauling in 10 to go with six points.
“Sherise had a high motor tonight. She needed that because we will need her this year. She is a junior and has been through the wars,” Schaefer said. “We are going to need her to get some confidence and play with that confidence.”
Vivians and Richardson paced Mississippi State in scoring on the trip, averaging 15.3 points apiece in the four contests.
The Bulldogs led from the start, taking a 37-6 lead after the opening quarter. Richardson scored nine of the team’s first 13 points as MSU built a quick 11-point advantage.
State’s defense held the host squad without a field goal for nearly five minutes. During that stretch MSU scored 20-straight points, with Richardson adding six points and Kendra Grant four.
Ketara Chapel and Vivians scored six points each over the final three minutes of the opening quarter, and William capped the period with a 3-pointer as time expired.
Mississippi State extended the advantage in the second quarter, opening the 10-minute session with a 22-0 run to take a 59-6 lead. Chapel opened the run with her eighth point of the half, while Vivians tallied eight points during the stretch to close the first half with 16 points.
Richardson followed her six-point opening quarter with eight in the second as MSU took a 61-point advantage, 75-14, to the locker room.
MSU opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run, and Jerica James and Richardson accounted for the Bulldogs’ first 10 points of the quarter. Three-straight buckets from Dominique Dillingham, Martha Alwal and James extended the lead to 91-19.
The Bulldogs led 101-22 at the end of the third quarter, finishing the period on an 8-2 run behind four Salter points.
William sparked the final quarter for MSU, tallying the Bulldogs’ first six points. Vivians tallied four points in the period, while Salter scored three.
As a team MSU averaged 106 points per game while limiting foes to 45.8.Although the Bulldogs have wrapped the basketball portion of the tour, the squad will head to Nice and Monaco/Monte Carlo for the final leg of the excursion.